Lagos State Tenancy Law 2023 – What You Need To Know
The Lagos State Tenancy Law is the legal provision of the Lagos State Government to provide checks and balances in the area of housing. As the Center of Excellence, Lagos is well ahead of other states in terms of development of infrastructure and policies. To provide some form of protection to the people who make up the work force, and who keep the state continuously prosperous, it is necessary to provide some form of protection.
Tenants are not the only ones in need of protection; land lords, and property developers who have invested huge sums of money into the construction and maintenance of these buildings also need to have protection; especially as this may be their only source of income- upon which they depend for their survival.
These checks and balances must therefore guide the interactions between both land-lords and tenants; ensuring that no side takes advantage of the other, and also ensuring that there are fewer disagreements, court cases, and incidences of violence.
Lagos State Tenancy Law – All You Need To Know
The first thing to note is that the Lagos State Tenancy Law is applicable to all business and residential premises unless otherwise specified by the government.
However; residential buildings which are owned or operated by an educational institution for its staff and students; or buildings that provide emergency shelter are not included in this law.
All kinds of care homes; including hospitals, mental institutions, and centers for alternative or natural therapy are excepted from this law.
Jurisdiction Of The Courts
The law provides that any issue dispute arising may be resolved by a court. The Court shall have jurisdiction on application made to it by a landlord or tenant. Third parties may also take the matter to court to determine matters arising, whether they have arisen before the enactment of the law, or after it.
Court proceedings may take place under this law at the High Court or at the Magistrates’ Court in the division or District in which the issue may have arisen.
This law shall come into effect where a tenancy agreement is deemed to exist; which is when a landlord grants a premises to a person in exchange for money or any other form of value. It does not matter whether the agreed by the landlord to a person for value whether or not it is expressed or implied; whether the agreement is made orally or in writing, or partly oral or partly written.
A core part of this Law is about the advance payment of rent, which is one of the most contentious issues between tenants and landlords. The law states that it is now unlawful for a landlord or his agent to demand or receive from a sitting tenant (one already occupying a premises) rent of more than 3 months.
The Law also states that it is against the law for a sitting tenant to offer or pay more than 3 months rent for any premises.
Any person who receives or pay rent in excess of the stipulated time frame shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable to pay a fine of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00), or to 3 months in prison.
Rent Payment Receipt
The law now requires all landlords to issue receipts as soon as payments are made by tenants. The receipt shall state the date on which the payment was received; the Names of the landlord and the tenant; Address or Location of premises for which the rent is paid; Amount of rent paid; and the Time for which the rent is being paid.
The Law states that any landlord who fails to issue a rent payment receipt to his tenant is liable to an offence, and is liable to a fine of ten thousand Naira (N10,000.00) payable to the Court.
Rights And Obligations Of Landlords And Tenants
The Law Grants the following Rights to tenants:
The tenant is entitled to quiet and reasonable privacy.
The tenant should be free from unreasonable disturbance.
The tenant shall possess the premises he has paid for exclusively, although the landlord retains limited right of inspection.
The tenant may use the common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes.
If the tenant spends his own money to make improvements to the premises, then he should be compensated. This compensation can be discussed with the landlord while still in possession of the property, or on quitting the premises.
Obligations Of The Tenant
The tenant is expected to adhere to the following:
The tenant is to pay the rents at the times and in the manner agreed.
The tenant is expected to pay all existing and future rates and charges on the premises he occupies that are not the responsibilities of the landlord.
The tenant is expected to maintain the premises, although reasonable wear and tear accepted.
The tenant should permit the landlord and his agents, during reasonable hours in the day, to view the condition of the premises and to effect repairs in necessary parts of the building after written notice.
The tenant should not make any changes or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord.
The tenant should not assign or sub-rent the premises, or any part of the premises to another person without the written consent of the landlord.
The tenant should alert the landlord whenever he notices structural damage of any kind on the premises which he occupies.
Obligations of the Landlord
The Lagos State Tenancy Law states that except a contrary agreement is reached between the landlord and the tenant, the landlord must not do any of the following:
The landlord must not disturb the tenant’s quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the premises.
The landlord must pay all rates and charges as stipulated by law so as not to disturb the tenant’s enjoyment of the premises.
The landlord must keep the premises insured against loss or damage.
The landlord must not restrict the tenant’s use of a common facility or service in the premises he occupies.
The landlord has no right to seize or interfere with the tenant’s access to his personal property.
The landlord must repair and maintain the external parts of the building, and with the tenants permission, the interior as well.
Service Charge, Facilities and Security Deposits
Where applicable; Service Charges may be charged by the landlord or his agents; as long as the following are upheld.
Security deposits may be taken to cover damage and repairs to the premises; to pay for services and facilities for the premises. However, when such payments are made, the landlord or his agent shall issue a separate receipt to the tenant for payments received. Furthermore, the landlord should issue to the tenant a written account at least every six (6) months about how the money is disbursed.
The Lagos State Tenancy Law is designed to promote peace between tenants and landlords in Lagos state. The law is fair and balanced, and offers guidelines, which when followed will result in fewer litigation. Please be advised that this article provides information about the tenement law in an abridged manner; one is expected to consult with a lawyer for more in-depth explanations.